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From Information Delivery to Information Support: Evaluating Cultural Heritage Access on the Web

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-05-02, 13:37 authored by Lora AroyoLora Aroyo

In this paper, we present an evaluation framework for online access to cultural heritage. The framework enables the assessment of online cultural heritage applications in terms of their provision and support of information and interpretation. It is anchored in digital hermeneutics: the study and theory of the Web as a vehicle of (self)-interpretation. Digital hermeneutics considers the limits of automation and modelling on the one hand, and the interaction of people and technology on the other. In this paper, this philosophical issue will linger in the background, while we focus on the more practical issues of (1) explaining the evaluation framework and (2) describing our work in Agora in the context of that framework.

We analyze twelve Web applications, representing the range of current state of the art in this eld. This provides valuable insights into what cultural heritage applications on the Web do, can do, and how distinctive goals are to be achieved. Then we report on three user studies with the Agora demonstrator which made us reconsider a number of assumptions we made about the user's needs for information and interpretation.